Dam malfunction drains Madison

A malfunction at Hebgen Lake Dam has dewatered a reach of the upper Madison River, arguably the greatest of Montana's blue ribbon trout streams.

Streamer evangelist and Slide Inn owner Kelly Galloup alerted Montana media and supplied photos of the nearly dry river bed. Galloup's concern is the fate of brown trout eggs, nestled in stream gravel. If they dry out or freeze, the river could lose a year class these prime streamer targets.

Protect the Blackfoot

In this Washington Post column, John Maclean, son of "A River Runs Through It," author Norman Maclean, urges Montana Sen. Steve Daines to stop blocking wilderness protection for headwater streams of the Big Blackfoot River.

When Maclean's novella was turned into a film by director Robert Redford in the early 1990s, the Blackfoot was considered too degraded to be used for filming river scenes. Decades of habitat worked have returned the river to its former glory, however. The wilderness effort would protect streams that fill the Blackfoot with cold, clean water, protecting the river from the ravages of late summer heat.

In exchange for protecting these streams, Daines wants to remove protection for wild lands elsewhere in Montana. Maclean says conservation isn't a zero-sum game, and Daines is holding popular legislation hostage.

Cookbook review: Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail

Well, I promise I intended this as a cookbook review when I sat down to write it a few weeks ago. But reading it now, I have to wonder about myself. I suppose this is more a book about how the work of author and chef Hank Shaw has influenced my own culinary adventures, especially where wild game is concerned. “Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail: Upland Birds and Small Game from Field to Feast," has been a central guide as far as that journey is concerned.

In contemporary outdoors media, too often the act of eating game is completely divorce from the act of killing. To the degree I am able, I intend to fight that trend. Henceforth, there will be fewer tailgate shots, and more dinner prep shots in my social media activity.

This is the second of a five-part series of cookbook reviews I will write as Christmas gift suggestions. You can find a link to my review of Michael Ruhlman's "Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing," here.

Safety Doesn’t Come Cheap

The shooting death on the set of the film "Rust" is a reminder that firearm safety is the responsibility of everyone handling a firearm, whether they're an actor, armorer, or even an assistant director. Cutting corners, however, is never the answer.

My latest column.

The latest on the "Rust" shooting is that an attorney for the film's armorer has suggested someone may have sabotaged the film by placing live rounds in a box of blanks, though live rounds shouldn't have been on the set regardless. And here's a look back on some of my coverage of a shooting at the Cody Gunfighter Show in 2016, here and here. That shooting was eerily similar to the the "Rust" shooting, though fortunately no one was seriously harmed.

FWP wants input on Marias River conservation easement

FWP officials want to hear from the public on the Chip Creek Conservation Easement, a 24,000 acre project to protect grasslands and riparian areas along the Marias River north of Loma. The project would also create public access on more than 10,000 acres of these restored grasslands. The area supports a variety of game birds and deer, as well as two sage grouse leks.

FWP wildlife biologist Ryan Rauscher said that if approved, the Chip Creek Conservation Easement will be one of the largest additions to Montana's conservation easement program in recent memory.